andersonIt’s hockey playoff time. I have for many years wrote about the sexiness of playoff beards. Everyone has something that makes then catch their breath and bite their tongue. For me it’s burly, sweaty men and facial hair. I like men that look like men. It turns out that there is some physiological reasons for this.

Being hyper masculine, square jawed, broad shouldered, with a 5 O’clock shadow makes men look more virile. Meaning their boys can swim and they make good genetic choices for our ovaries. Those qualities have women thinking about baby-making (or at least practicing) in our primitive or limbic “we want to have monkey sex” brains. The opposite is also true. Feminized women who smell nice, are pink, cute, and sway their hips are also trigger heat from their partners. There is something about playing those exaggerated roles of masculine and feminine that has our primitive brains hard wired for sex.

These behaviours bump up our sex hormones, testosterone and progesterone. This in turn makes us friskier.

It also turns out that watching sports also increases our testosterone. But only if our team wins. This was the abstract of a great study that tested the hormones in saliva during basketball and soccer games. And those guys don’t have playoff beards. Smile. So test my hormones on Friday night when the Ottawa Senators win game 2 of the second round. Maybe that’s why I’m inclined to have halftime or intermission sex.

Basking in reflected glory, in which individuals increase their self-esteem by identifying with successful others, is usually regarded as a cognitive process that can affect behavior. It may also involve physiological processes, including changes in the production of endocrine hormones. The present research involved two studies of changes in testosterone levels among fans watching their favorite sports teams win or lose. In the first study, participants were eight male fans attending a basketball game between traditional college rivals. In the second study, participants were 21 male fans watching a televised World Cup soccer match between traditional international rivals. Participants provided saliva samples for testosterone assay before and after the contest. In both studies, mean testosterone level increased in the fans of winning teams and decreased in the fans of losing teams. These findings suggest that watching one’s heroes win or lose has physiological consequences that extend beyond changes in mood and self-esteem.